Arrow has been the darker of the two DC comics shows on The CW.
When The Flash premiered, it became obvious Arrow would be dark and The Flash would be light. However, we have episodes crossing and character integration and the creation of a large world that will continue to grow as a new show will be added in 2016.
What Arrow Season 3 Episode 19 did was deliver two separate stories that feel so at odds it's almost painful to speak of them together in one review. We had an all star team up with high fives and a near death. Odd, that.
Keep in mind the difficulty in writing about episodes such at "Broken Arrow" don't necessarily come from the subject matter itself, but instead from the disparity of the audience. But on a show that can become as dark as Arrow, levity can help help it from sinking too deeply into the abyss.
Throughout the hour, Roy was in Iron Heights. Why he was in prison and not county lockup is a complete mystery. Where is Iron Heights, anyway? Starling City and Central City are nowhere near each other and yet the two use the facility as if it's in the back yard. Considering the history of the place, nobody should have worried about Oliver busting Roy out; it practically has revolving doors.
Nonetheless, Oliver was worried about him, as he should have been. Laurel stepped in like a good attorney should and pointed out you cannot prosecute two people for the same crime. Unfortunately, Oliver wanted to be prosecuted. So did Roy. He felt at ease about murdering the cop for the first time in ages.
While Roy was detained, a metahuman made his way into town because the cops didn't give a damn. After all, they were after the Arrow! He was in custody, sure, but Capt. Lance, well, he had bigger fish to fry. Who cares if some goon is sucking the electricity off the grid with his red eyeballs? It went right past him. Great detecting there.
Despite the name of The Flash Season 1 Episode 18 titled "All Star Team Up," we really had one here, as Oliver operated Ray's ATOM suit as if it was a computer game. So much of it has been done before, including rolling the eyes at Ray's overenthusiastic behavior, but it's still fun to watch. It was the first time Oliver got in on the game and he needed the relief.
Ray: How many abandoned warehouses are in this city? No, no, I'm genuinely curious.
Oliver: Stay focused, Ray.
Felicity: Maybe Simmons isn't in there.
Oliver: Do you get this anxious when I'm out in the field?
Felicity: I genuinely cannot think of an answer to that question that does not get me in trouble.
[Diggle looks at Oliver, shakes his head no]
Ray: There's not a visual sighting or any reading at all from the ATOM. I mean the suit, not myself in the third person.
Oliver: There's a decent chance that you and Palmer are related.
[Sarcastic glance from Felicity and return side glance from Oliver]
Although we witnessed no such discussion on the subject, I suppose we were supposed to take away from all of this that Felicity made some sort of internal, albeit temporary decision to stick with Ray for now.
His chat with her at the beginning of the hour about the lowercase love and his messed up hypothalamus was very sweet, but you could see the pain on his face betraying every word he said. Yes, you all think Felicity is propping up another superhero, but she's actually living her life, and that includes dating a man who is interested, free and cares for her a lot more than she cares for him. She could be doing worse and she's hardly a prop.
The two men teaming up to save Felicity (who did quite fine when left to her own devices with the water valves once she was forgiven for not recognizing one of the most recognizable men on the planet) was pretty awesome to watch and that Oliver helped Ray realize he's more than tech was very nice indeed.
Oliver: Fight back, Ray, fight back!
Ray: He's. Too. Strong.
Oliver: This is not about strength. This is about heart. Ray, when the mayor was killed, you put yourself in harm's way to save Felicity. Normal people, they don't do that. Heroes do that.
We even had a mini crossover when Ray took Simmons to STAR Labs and asked how the metahumans get fed and take care of their business. The question arose how the dude became a meta if he was in Opal City when the particle accelerator exploded; will that be the location of the new series?
Of course, the rest of the hour was rather ominous. Felicity was propping up a hero, and it was Oliver. She reminded him once again that he gave them up and that she believed in him.
Felicity: You have sacrificed everything to be the Arrow, even you and me, but whether or not you break Roy out of Iron Heights, there is no more Arrow. Ra's took that from you.
Oliver: I was told once that a man cannot live by two names. Well right now I can't live by either, so I don't know who I am.
Felicity: I know who you are. Whether you're in a suit or in a hood, you're the man that I...you're the man that I believe in.
It's a good thing Felicity gave him that pep talk to hold onto before his trusted team thrust upon him that they pulled a fast one and pretended Roy was killed in prison. HeOliver's heart might not have been as warm without it.
I knew Roy's death wasn't real because it was so anticlimactic. I felt nothing when he was stabbed, and if he had been killed for real, wouldn't that have been different? Or has the introduction of the Lazarus Pit and time travel altered the stakes forever? Roy rode off into the sunset, happy to have given up the life he loved as atonement for the life he took. It seemed fair, if sad that he didn't say goodbye to Thea.
At first I thought we'd next see him next on the new series given the look Ray had on his face as Roy rode off, but Thea bleeding out of the same wound Roy received as a fake-out in prison leads me to believe he'll be back sooner. Ra's really has poor timing.
The preview for Arrow Season 3 Episode 20 shows Oliver doing exactly what Ra's promised Thea her brother would be doing, in some manner, anyway. Heading to Nanda Parbat to ask for help, if not begging to be the new Demon's Head. There was a flash of Sara darting by (That had to be Sara, right?) as they discussed the perils of using the pits to resurrect someone and Oliver carrying Thea up a hill, his people following.
Many of these theories have been swimming on the internet for a long time, so kudos to those of you who pegged it. If you have the final episode down to a T, I'd love to know what this big exclamation point of which they speak is all about.
I'm unsure how I feel about what's happening. It's apparent the series is changing and we're either along for the ride or jumping off at the end of Arrow Season 3. We don't have that much longer to find out. I'm not up for a time reset, so whatever else is coming had better be good. What do you think it is?
Hit the comments and talk about it. Will you miss Roy? Looking ahead, will Thea take his place in a red suit as Speedy? How different will she be after the Lazarus Pits? Do you expect a big death at the end of the season and who will it be?
Don't forget, you can watch Arrow online anytime via TV Fanatic if you missed out.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.